Milk For The Cat

"Milk for the Cat" is a poem by Harold Monro. The poem describes, with amazing fluidity and insight, a little cat's love of the juice of the cow.

Harold Monro (1879-1932) was a Belgian born English poet, who founded the Poetry Review and the Poetry Bookshop.

The Poetry Bookshop attracted poets (as you might imagine), and poetry readings were done there.

Monro was involved in publishing a series of anthologies in order to allow new poetry to reach a wider audience.

This series was labeled "Georgian" in honor of the accession of George V to the throne in 1910. The poem is below.


Milk for the Cat

When the tea is brought at five o'clock,
And all the neat curtains are drawn with care,
The little black cat with bright green eyes
Is suddenly purring there.

At first she pretends, having nothing to do,
She has come in merely to blink by the grate,
But, though tea may be late or the milk may be sour,
She is never late.

And presently her agate eyes
Take a soft large milky haze,
And her independent casual glance
Becomes a stiff, hard gaze.

Then she stamps her claws or lifts her ears,
Or twists her tail and begins to stir,
Till suddenly all her lithe body becomes
One breathing, trembling purr.

The children eat and wriggle and laugh;
The two old ladies stroke their silk:
But the cat is grown small and thin with desire,
Transformed to a creeping lust for milk.

The white saucer like some full moon descends
At last from the clouds of the table above;
She sighs and dreams and thrills and glows,
Transfigured with love.

She nestles over the shining rim,
Buries her chin in the creamy sea;
Her tail hangs loose; each drowsy paw
Is doubled under each bending knee.

A long, dim ecstasy holds her life;
Her world is an infinite shapeless white,
Till her tongue has curled the last holy drop,
Then she sinks back into the night,

Draws and dips her body to heap
Her sleepy nerves in the great arm-chair,
Lies defeated and buried deep
Three or four hours unconscious there.

I quoted this poem over at the cat milk page (where you won't find any poetry, or milk for that matter). You can find more about feline related poetry at the poems and quotes pages.

Since the poem describes a black cat with green eyes, I'm voting for the ironic name, "Milky" to be added to the list of black cat names, along with "Monro."


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